Injecting Insulin?

Read these must-know tips to prevent scarring and boost effectiveness.

Health Monitor Staff
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There’s one more thing to keep in mind besides administering the right insulin dose at the right time: choosing the right place! Here’s why: Injecting insulin into the same spot every time can cause lipohypertrophy, a buildup of fat under the skin that creates hard lumps. Not only can it be unsightly, it can also interfere with the way your body absorbs insulin, making it harder to control your diabetes and keep your blood sugar on target. Here are some tips for avoiding the problem.

Don’t double stick
But do rotate injections within the same general area. Reason? Insulin is absorbed at different rates depending on where you inject, and you want to keep the absorption rate consistent from stick to stick. So, if you inject your mealtime bolus in your abdomen (insulin is absorbed fastest from the abdomen), it’s best to inject your next mealtime bolus in your abdomen, too—2 inches away.

Picture the face of a clock...on your abdomen
This helps you keep each injection at least a couple inches apart, and will give each spot a few days’ chance to “rest.” (In fact, you should aim not to inject the same spot twice in two weeks.)

A grid pattern works, too. Just remember to inject at least 2 inches away from the belly button, moles and scars. The tissue in those areas is tougher, which slows the absorption rate.

Consider temporary tattoos
Using these at the site of your recent injection guarantees you won’t inject there twice. 

Check in with your healthcare team
At your next visit, ask your doctor or diabetes educator to examine your injection sites to see if there are any signs of lipohypertrophy. She may provide you with an injection site chart for you to use.

December 2013